St. John’s right-hander Garret Pearson’s recruitment has been a roller coaster ride. As a junior his fastball was clocked at 88 miles per hour at the Perfect Game WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Fla. in October 2012 while playing with the Victus Orioles. He earned all-tournament honors, and interest from Virginia, Ole Miss and Tennessee, and Maryland soon followed.
Pearson hoped wow more scouts last June at the Perfect Game National Showcase in Minneapolis, but days before the event, he learned he had suffered a shoulder impingement around his triceps. He pitched through it, but his fastball topped out at 84 mph.
Pearson had visited Tennessee and Ole Miss, but both schools passed on him after learning of his injury. Then his recruitment quieted. In mid-April he took a visit to Virginia Commonwealth where Cadets Coach Mark Gibbs’ former roomate Shawn Stiffler is the coach.
“I didn’t know that to expect,” Pearson said. “The campus looked very new and it sit rights in Richmond. I liked the coaches and the facilities.”
Last Wednesday the Rams offered, and the next day, Pearson gave them his verbal commitment. He is the second local pitcher to commit to VCU in the past week after DeMatha junior Jack Alkire gave his verbal commitment May 19.
“It was a gut feeling type of thing,” Pearson said. “I saw it as a place for me.
This season, Pearson is 3-1 on the mound in 26 innings pitched with 41 strikeouts for the third-ranked Cadets. He’s allowed only nine hits. He hit 91 mph in the fall, but a month ago he sustained an oblique injury. Pearson battled through that to earn the closer role in the WCAC final against O’Connell May 10.
St. John’s led 16-0 in the top of the seventh and the senior was called upon to finish the championship win. Pearson struck out two batters in the rare relief appearance, and his fastball was clocked at 95 mph three times by a couple scouts.
“I’ve envisioned coming into the championship game and closing it out since I was a freshman,” Pearson said. “It was an incredible feeling to get through those injuries, it honestly sucked at the end of the summer. I didn’t know if I could be that guy again.”